Star of The Mummy, George of the Jungle and Bedazzled Brendan Fraser was frequently a leading man on the big screen between the 90s and 00s. While he continues to work, the actor is not the high profile star he once was.
Mind you, his next role, in TV series Trust, based on the same true life kidnapping of John Paul Getty II that inspired Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, could just be his next big hit.
Fraser discussed the show, which co-stars Hillary Swank and Donald Sutherland, in a new interview with GQ, during which he also went into the reasons for his fading career during the 2000s. It turns out, the reasons are complicated and manifold.
Firstly, the actor was plagued by injuries from doing so much stunt work. He underwent numerous surgeries including a laminectomy, a lumbar that didn’t take and had to be done again, a partial knee replacement, and even repairs on his vocal cords. The actor estimated that he was in and out of hospitals for almost seven years.
In 2016, his mother passed away, while a number of other occurrences uprooted his life. He explains that across a ten year period: “I changed houses; I went through a divorce. Some kids were born. I mean, they were born, but they're growing up. I was going through things that mould and shape you in ways that you're not ready for until you go through them.”
The actor also spoke about an incident in that occurred in 2003 at a luncheon held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in the Beverly Hills Hotel involving Philip Berk, a former president of the HFPA. Fraser describes: “His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around” (an incident that Berk claims is a “complete fabrication”).
Fraser said the incident made him feel “ill… like a little kid… like there was a ball in my throat” and that he became “depressed” and “reclusive” afterwards. While he supports and admires the women who came forward during the Time’s Up movement, Fraser admitted he lacked the courage to do so himself.
Losing out on the role of Superman, which eventually went to Brandon Routh in Superman Returns, also had a huge emotional toll on him, making him feel like he “didn’t measure up” and had “failed.” He says that he ultimately disappeared because he “bought into the pressure that comes with the hopes and aims that come with a professional life that's being molded and shaped and guided and managed.”
He adds: “That requires what they call thick skin, or just ignoring it, putting your head in the sand, or gnashing your teeth and putting on your public face, or just not even…needing the public. Ignoring. Staying home, damn it. You know, not 'cause I'm aloof or anything, but because I just felt I couldn't be a part of it. I didn't feel that I belonged.”